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SpaceX's Prototype Internet Satellites Are Up and Running

SpaceX's Prototype Internet Satellites Are Up and Running

The two satellites, named Tintin A and Tintin B, were deployed from a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that took off from the Space Launch Complex 4 East at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California just after 7 a.m. PST.

The experimental craft launched today as secondary payloads atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. SpaceX is also in the business of re-launching entire Falcon 9 rockets and cargo capsules. "Falcon 9's first stage for the PAZ mission previously supported the FORMOSAT-5 mission from SLC-4E in August 2017".

OneWeb wants 720 satellites, also in Low Earth Orbit at 750 miles high, and with the first deployment next year. To date, the largest existing low-Earth orbiting constellation is owned by Iridium, a communication's company that is now on its way to launch 75 Iridium Next satellites into space.

PAZ, built by Airbus and operated by Hisdesat, will provide imagery for commercial and government uses.

On Thursday, SpaceX will launch a pair of prototype satellites meant to form the basis for Starlink, a constellation of about 11,000 satellites that would beam broadband internet down to Earth.

US Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai last week proposed that the agency approve SpaceX application to provide broadband services using satellite technologies in the US and on a global basis. Once there, the newly-commissioned "Mr. Steven" retrieval ship would be waiting to catch them in its net.

For this launch, the two halves of the fairing have been equipped with attitude-control thrusters and parachutes.

SpaceX's satellites may offer a direct-to-consumer wireless connection, a new option that will likely receive tons of blowback from current communications companies.

Usually, this part of the rocket is thrown away but if the fairings are able to be recovered Musk has estimated that the space company could save 6 million United States dollars per launch.

After the launch, the nosecone separates into two fairings after it has deployed the payload.

Test fires are uncommon elsewhere in the industry, but for SpaceX it is customary before the launches. But one of the fairings landed several hundred metres away on water, though it didn't seem to have suffered any damage. "Should be able to catch it with slightly bigger chutes to slow down the descent", explained SpaceX CEO Elon Musk in a tweet.

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